The Trump administration is siding with a court case that says the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is unconstitutional. The lawsuit from a coalition of state attorneys general and two governors says Congress’ decision to repeal the individual mandate penalty in ObamaCare makes the healthcare law illegal.
“It’s simply a reflection of where Republicans are right now,” thinks Merrill Matthews, Ph.D. of The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI). “They never thought that the individual mandate to have health insurance was constitutional, [but] it got ruled conditional when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said, ‘Well, the penalty in there is essentially a tax, and because the federal government has the ability to tax, then I’m going to go ahead and go along with it.’ And that’s what essentially allowed the thing to go forward. So now that Congress has removed the penalty part from that mandate, they’re arguing that the structure simply cannot work anymore.”
Matthews does not see a resolution happening anytime soon.
“It just simply highlights the problem that Congress has not done its job in coming back and addressing the problem,” Matthews adds. “Next year, when that penalty is no longer going to apply, more people are going to want to have a good health insurance option that is not ObamaCare-qualified, and they don’t have those options right now.”
While it will likely result in legal actions from liberal states and attorneys general, the Trump administration is working for and pushing non-ObamaCare compliant plans, the idea being to help bring down costs for consumers.
“If you did that, if you allowed them to do that, I think you’d see this ObamaCare essentially collapse pretty quickly, or faster than its doing right now, and the whole effort might become moot,” Matthews concludes.